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LittleMissBudo
02-05-2003, 07:16 AM
No, not of the macho TKD black belt who has decided to take up Aikido for a laugh and doesn't appreciate being thrown by a 5'0 , 55kg pre-6th girl, but my own.

I've been training for a year now and although my technique is no where near as good as I'd like it to be, I'm just as good as the last batch 6th kyu graders. What's keeping me away from grading is that I'm having serious trouble with my forward ukemi (yes, even after this long!).

Point of the post, I went training last night with a different instructor to my usual who doesn't know me that well. I end up training with a guy who's only been there a few weeks and it throws me because e.g. he doesn't know how to grip, I have to be super-careful and give this guy enough room to fall softly, etc. My technique sucks not because my Uke's not that experienced or confident, but because so I'm distracted with having to look after him. Teach then comes along and starts lecturing me in all the basic, basic, basic points I know I'm missing leaving me feeling a little resentful.

Then comes the breakfall drill. He asks what my breakfalls like, I say so-so, but rather then give me a chance to show what I can do he sends me straight to the 2-weeks Newbies side.

I'm trying to train more often to better my technique and sort out my darn ukemi end up with my confidence in my ability shaken and with a serious ding in my ego (so much so that I had trouble sleeping last night).

Am I just being sensitive or should I have stuck up for myself?

LMB

Creature_of_the_id
02-05-2003, 07:45 AM
as far as being stuck with the 'newbies' for breakfalling practice goes...

I think you should not have let that effect you, just go where you are told to go and do it to the best of your ability. The instructor is better off not taking chances with a student they dont know and so safety is always the best option until they watch you and know you are confident with breakfalling.

The instructor knows there is always next class to put you where you are meant to be once your falling has been assessed.

As for having the basics lectured to you over and over again. Just acknowledge the teaching, do the best you can under the circumstances and know that your less experienced uke probably got alot out of the recap of the basics aswell.

I think you are being a bit overly sensative, but alot of people are.

I find learning how to leave things be and concentrate on the technique you are doing now, not the techniques you have just done becomes very important later on.

In randori you dont have time to think, damn, I should have done that last technique better, I should have done this I should have done that. you have to just out it behind you and move, concentrating on what you are doing right there and then to the best of your ability.

SeiserL
02-05-2003, 07:56 AM
Welcome to Aikido. The art is very humbling. Be thankful for the dent in your ego. It will eventually help your technique. It never hurts to go over, review, or learn the basics again. I notice that many of us hear the same thing years after we started. If your trust the instructors, just train.

Next time, leave your dented ago at the door that way it won't get hurt on the mat.

Until again,

Lynn

Mark Barlow
02-05-2003, 08:51 AM
I prefer an instructor who errs on the side of caution when dealing with a new student. Many dojo injuries are caused by overconfidence on the part of the student and lack of supervision by the sensei.

As for being lectured on basics, appreciate the attention and absorb what you can. I often find that different instructors will be offering the same advice but phrased differently. You'll be surprised how enlightening this can be.

MattRice
02-05-2003, 11:26 AM
Don't sweat it. The fact that the instructor is talking to you, getting your opinion of your skills, indicates that you are cared for. If the teacher didn't care, you wouldn't get any attention at all.

I often get the lecture that is intended for me, but also (perhaps more so) intended for the less experienced partner I'm working with. Remember, it's your job to take care of those with less experience, sometimes your practice may suffer. It's a challenge to figure out how to get good practice yourself, and help the newbie while you're at it.

Find someone whose ukemi you think is good. Watch them carefully; what do they do differently than you? Work with some seniors after/before class.

Don't worry, you'll get it...

ross_l
02-05-2003, 11:30 AM
I too am just a beginner and my ukemi is still pretty sloppy. One tip that helped me is to try not to think too much about your ukemi as you do it. You know, hold your hand like this, over your shoulder like that. You'll have too many things racing through your mind. If you'll excuse the pun, you just have to roll with it.

shihonage
02-05-2003, 12:04 PM
A lot of people think "I'm a good nice person", but when the spit hits the fan, they're surprised to see themselves doing things which are not so nice.

For example, one may find themselves looking down on newcomers or just doing the technique for their own "benefit", without caring about being a good uke when their turn comes.

Or you count on showing off and being Steven Seagal when your instructor decides to spend the next 40 minutes doing what you consider a basic drill.

_______

I definitely, positively, suggest that you should NOT "stick up for yourself" in the kind of situation that you describe below.

What's happening here is a psychological exorcism. Your "demons" (or ego problems) come out, and Aikido helps you to acknowledge them, and then say goodbye to them.

It's not pleasant, but that's how it works.

This phenomena happens to every one of us, and you can expect it to happen in the future, as well.
Point of the post, I went training last night with a different instructor to my usual who doesn't know me that well. I end up training with a guy who's only been there a few weeks and it throws me because e.g. he doesn't know how to grip, I have to be super-careful and give this guy enough room to fall softly, etc. My technique sucks not because my Uke's not that experienced or confident, but because so I'm distracted with having to look after him. Teach then comes along and starts lecturing me in all the basic, basic, basic points I know I'm missing leaving me feeling a little resentful.

Then comes the breakfall drill. He asks what my breakfalls like, I say so-so, but rather then give me a chance to show what I can do he sends me straight to the 2-weeks Newbies side.

I'm trying to train more often to better my technique and sort out my darn ukemi end up with my confidence in my ability shaken and with a serious ding in my ego (so much so that I had trouble sleeping last night).

Am I just being sensitive or should I have stuck up for myself?

Nacho_mx
02-05-2003, 12:33 PM
Wrong approach. You canīt just throw yourself around like a sack. Like everything in aikido the ukemi motion (forward, backward, breakfall) must be practiced constantly and thus internalized so you donīt have to think about it much, of course this takes time and patiences, and more importantly, trust, thatīs the keyword. An ideal ukemi is when your body follows your mind, and your mind is focused on where you are and where are you going, so there is no room for distraction or hesitation.

drDalek
02-05-2003, 02:31 PM
I thought the entire point of martial arts, especially those with a strong eastern - spiritual background like Aikido is to break down the ego - in the zen sense of the word ofcourse.

Atleast you can count on one thing, this was probably the first in a long line of knocks your ego is going to take. But the good part is that usually when people stop worrying how they look when they roll and whether they will hurt themselves or not, their rolls improve.

Good luck.

Nick P.
02-05-2003, 03:00 PM
Little Ms,

1-Ego gets in the way; it's how you choose to deal with your problem that you will learn that.

2-Think of ukemi (front or back) as letting yourself relax into your own bed (i.e. mental image of soft and fluffy, a safe place). That way, when Sensei or a senior smooshes you into the mat, no problem! Seriously, I think it was Donovan Waite Sensei who said "You spend 50% of your time on the mat/taking ukemi, so you better get comfortable with being there"...

Patience is required for both better ego-less practice and ukemi. Let me know when you figure it out so you can tell me how to do it, too.

warriorwoman
02-05-2003, 03:13 PM
I believe I understand what you're feeling. Although I don't train in Aikido, the martial art I do train in used ukemi as well. I think there are few things going on:



First, I think women tend to be more sensitive to these things than guys. As a woman, myself, I have reached certain levels in my training where I've had to go back and re-train on basics in ukemi (still do). Be confident about the things you do well and allow yourself to be open enough to perfect those things you don't do well. When another woman joined our dojo her rank was 6th kyu. She almost stopped training because her backward rolls were a real problem. With our sensei, she was able to learn the proper way to do them and with the confidence this gave her, she progressed tremendously in other aspects of our martial art. I don't think it ever ends. Once you reach black belt, it adds an additional burden. I think some of us have high expectations of ourselves and when we don't meet them, we beat ourselves up. I agree with the previous posters in that you should just relax and look at training with the beginners as a temporary opportunity to work in a less stressful way on getting the bugs out of your ukemi. Your aikido is YOURS and yours may be different from everyone else's, so be kind to yourself and focus on YOUR training. AND HAVE FUN! You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll progress. Good luck and keep us posted.

janet dtantirojanarat

www.warriorwoman.org

Paul Klembeck
02-05-2003, 07:19 PM
Sometimes learning ukemi just takes time. The senior instructor at my dojo says it took him three to six months of concentrated regular practice to do forward rolls. Since, he's a seventh dan now, it doesn't matter in the long run.

Also, you should balance any criticisms of your ukemi with some well deserved praise. That you took care of your beginner partner rather than trying to look good shows the right attitude on your part. Good for you!

Also, keep in mind that technique is not for show. When working with a new beginner technique can simultaneously be quite solid and look messy. Keep up the good work.

Paul Klembeck

Grasshopper
02-05-2003, 08:20 PM
My two bits is more about the newbies than improving your ukemi or your ego...

I've had different feelings about training with newbies ranging from feeling like the big *graded* 5th kyu who knows all to feeling resentful that none of the black belts or higher kyus would train with me. I'm not quite sure where I'm standing at the moment, but after not training for a couple of months, I'm sure the then-newbies would now be feeling the same way I did about them. "Respect your elders. Take care of your juniors." is the part of the Aikikai (aikido?) code that strikes the deepest chord in me, so just keep on trying your best at training, and learn from both the sensei and the newbies.

Yoroshiku!

Kelly Allen
02-06-2003, 03:10 AM
I have one piece of advice that has helped me immensly and continues to help. Get ahold of Sensie Buce Bookmans tape on Ukemi and watch it many times. You wont be sorry.

faramos
02-06-2003, 02:05 PM
The best advice ever given to me about ukemi has been "just breath". And if in fact you still find your thoughts in a bunch, this may seem silly but- think of a glass of water. Several people I know often find themselves thinking about complex things when rolling or falling. If we must think about something during ukemi, it may help that it be simple and reassuring. It works for me, and that's the only proof I can give you.

Best in Training,

Frank

DCP
02-06-2003, 02:50 PM
When I first started Aikido, I missed the main point of ukemi: when nage does technique on you, your goal is to not get hurt. I was impressed by the ukemi of the higher ranks and tried to replicate, but I was only being too big for my britches and ended up with a messed up shoulder (that is still funky years later).

Everyone learns at a different pace. It will come. Don't force it. It will come much slower if you can't be on the mat due to injury.

John Boswell
02-06-2003, 03:35 PM
Talk about basics: I started Aikido last May and to this day, we pretty much start off every single class practicing Tenkan. ALL RANKS... PRACTICE TENKAN !!

Funny thing is... we all need more work on it. ;)

Don't let your ego be bruised. But on the other hand, STAY with the instructor(s) you feel most comfortable with. Its one thing to have a new instructor for a day or two. But in the long run, do what is right for you.

cindy perkins
03-02-2003, 06:58 PM
Thank you, Little Miss Budo. I feel better reading another's struggles with ego, knowing I am not alone. I am always seesawing between thinking I'm "really getting it (finally)" and kicking myself furiously for not getting the basics, like rolls and tenkan. Both are ego trouble. In the moments when I'm not doing this, I realize that I'll always be learning the basics, over and over, just a little bit better each time. The cool stuff will flow out of it. If I can get to the point that i STOP struggling with trying to measure "how good" I am, I'll have lots more fun.

PeterR
03-02-2003, 07:29 PM
Speaking of dented ego.

I remember receiving a Dan grade menkyo from the head of the style and then being sent to someone to improve one of the most basic exercises that we do.

I didn't feel my ego was rampant but it still felt my legs were kicked out from under me.